Aside from being the Year of the Bear in city league football this fall, it is also the Year of the Monkey.
There’s no doubt that the biggest story of the season is the 7-0 Dorchester Bears. But five weeks after Boston English got the monkey off its back by winning its first non-forfeit game in two seasons, the Burke won its first non-forfeit victory in second-year coach Byron Beaman’s tenure.
And the Burke (2-5) did it by beating who else, Boston English (3-4), by a count of 22-8 on Friday afternoon.
Beaman emphasized that he is taking the victory in stride and will not be satisfied with one win, but he also said that’s not to underestimate the power of his first victory as the school’s coach. Mostly because he wants his upperclassmen to be able to return to the school in a few years from now and proudly point to the program they helped start.
“I wanted to give these seniors something,” he said. “And to be able to win a game with this group means a lot as far as the future is concerned.”
He also wanted them to be able to walk through the hallways at school with their heads held high.
“It defiantly shows the city ‘Hey we’ve been down for a little while but it’s a new day and we’re going to get better and everyone has their time,’ Beaman said. “I think it felt good to finally get that monkey off our back and the kids can walk down the hallway in school and not hear ‘Oh you guys [stink].’
“And it was a solid win, not a fluke win.”
Elvin Perez threw two touchdown strikes to George Tate, one for 11 yards in the first quarter before they went up 8-0 and one in the fourth quarter to go up 22-8. Anderson Raymond also scored on a 3-yard run to put Burke up 16-6 in the third.
“They are good and we didn’t play well,” English coach Chris Boswell said. “I had that same feeling earlier in the season. I have to give them a lot of credit. I think we got out played and out coached basically.”
Beaman admitted that it probably stings a little bit more to lose to his team because they have been down for so long but he said that’s how they want teams to think about them, especially going into Friday’s game against the undefeated Bears of Dorchester.
“What people have to realize is we have some decent players and it just took us a while to get our feet underneath us and be comfortable doing what we’re doing,” he said. “And it’s not for nothing, I think we have pretty decent coaching and sooner or later something was going to happen positive for us.
“It just so happened it ended up being against English and I have lot of respect for coach Boswell and what he’s done over there and those kids not giving up on themselves, because [giving up] is an easy thing to do.”
Working his finger to the bone
Jalen Apperwhite literally worked his finger to the bone in practice this past week.
Brighton’s junior quarterback threw a pass in practice on Tuesday and somehow the force of his follow through peeled back his skin one of his fingers. His bone was exposed and blood was everywhere.
“He throws and he snaps it, no ligaments, nothing was torn, our doctor patched him up and he was cleared to play [on Friday],” Brighton coach Randolph Abraham recalled on Saturday morning. “On the follow through he must have followed through too hard or hit himself in the leg and the skin came completely off all the way to the bone.”
Apperwhite was rushed to the emergency department at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton before the team doctors, Diane English (who also serves as one of Boston College’s team doctors) was called in to help Apperwhite.
Apperwhite received six stitches and had special tape put on his finger that allowed him to be cleared to play on Thursday night, said Abraham, who noted that is apparently a more common injury for quarterbacks than he realized.
"It hurt but I was more shocked," Apperwhite said. "I was more mad than hurt. I was like 'Hopefully this isn’t broke so I don’t miss the season.' Luckily they said I just missed tearing anything so everything should be fine."
Abraham said he was forced to play Apperwhite in the first half of Friday's 37-8 victory against Charlestown because the team’s backup quarterback was dismissed for disciplinary reasons.
Apperwhite went 3 of 4 passing for 115 yards, including a 55-yard bomb to Chris Desanero and a 50-yarder to Prince Unaegbu. The second TD was Unaegbu’s first career touchdown.
"The first one I thought it was kind of off, I threw it high, I was like 'Oh snap' then Chris made the catch and I was happy," Apperwhite said before talking about the second TD. "I told the coach I want to get Prince a touchdown this game because he’s been working hard all season..
"I felt good to get him a touchdown. I hope to get him more over these next couple of games."
Abraham put his third-string QB in for the second half.
“We were trying not to throw,” Abraham said of Apperwhite's performance. “But to be honest with you every time he threw he threw a touchdown.”
On Monday Apperwhite said he was feeling better and that the stitches would come out in two weeks.
"Well it’s healing, I still have pains here and there and I'm still working on throwing the ball, griping it so it can stay in a spiral," he said. "I still can’t really bend it but it doesn’t really hurt any more."
Passing in the air
The passing bug also hit West Roxbury and Madison Park this week.
West Roxbury, which has been trying to break out of its reputation of being a run only team all season, finally threw its first TD pass of the season when junior quarterback David Bertucci hooked up with Jovan Johnson for 29 yards in the third quarter of a 18-14 loss to Latin Academy.
In an 18-0 win against South Boston, Madison Park had two TD passes in one game for the first time since long-time coach Roosevelt Robinson could remember. Hector Villar tossed a 10-yarder to Tevin Regis in the second quarter before throwing a 25-yarder to David Stewart in the fourth quarter.
“We play football, we can throw the ball, we don’t have a problem with that,” Robinson said. “The players are starting to get a little bit better. They are starting gel a little bit. They are playing together as a team.
“We’re working on that. We’re trying to keep them focused because now is a big time for grades and school because this is crunch time for seniors.”
Four and out
O’Bryant’s four game win-streak came to an end in a 6-0 loss to Dorchester on Saturday morning at White Stadium.
The Tigers fumbled the ball away three times to Dorchester but recovered a fumble late in the game that gave them one final shot at victory.
“You have to expect the team with less turnovers to win the game and that’s exactly what happened,” a visibly upset O’Bryant quarterback Christian Ransom said after the loss. “Even till the last second of every game I always believe, even if we’re down, that we can win. Because you can’t play thinking you’re going to lose and that’s why it’s so upsetting when you do lose because nobody plays to lose. Everybody plays to win.”
Ransom said their four-game win streak wasn’t any comfort for not being able to give the 7-0 Bears their first blemish of the year.
“We were 4-0 in four weeks but this is the game I really wanted and the game we really needed,” he said. “Right now that’s just a record. I wanted it all.”
Twenty-five year kick return
Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza said that Ernest Kellough’s 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Westie on Friday was the school’s first kickoff return for a touchdown in 25 years.
“The kids worked really hard on in it and took a lot of pride in it so it’s nice to see something come to fruition,” Zizza said of the kickoff return team.
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